Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Brand New Booky Wook Author in Newcastle; THE Soon-to-Be-Wed Russell Brand Talks to BARBARA HODGSON Ahead of Tomorrow Night's Show in Newcastle

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Brand New Booky Wook Author in Newcastle; THE Soon-to-Be-Wed Russell Brand Talks to BARBARA HODGSON Ahead of Tomorrow Night's Show in Newcastle

Article excerpt

Byline: BARBARA HODGSON

IWAS prepared to be immersed, albeit briefly, into a surreal world on being offered a 10-minute interview slot with Russell Brand.

So I picked a quiet office away from my noisy colleagues and, pen poised, wondered if my shorthand would be up to following his usual high-speed and convoluted stream of consciousness.

But the strictly allocated time slot came and went before a PA called to say Russell had wandered off ... and was now in a meeting.

When a new time was given ... and passed ... I was beginning to relax my state of alert - then the PA was back on the phone.

They were in a car, he said, and Brand wasn't wandering off anywhere.

When he takes the phone - "Barbara - my mother's name is Barbara," he begins - the live-wire Russell is sounding more subdued than usual: hardly surprising considering that he's just put in a long afternoon of interviews to promote his newly-published Booky Wook 2. He comes across as nice and seems genuinely pleased when I tell him tomorrow's date in Newcastle - at The Journal Tyne Theatre, as part of a tour to accompany the book - was a fast sell-out.

Hardly surprisingly. But he never inquires about such things and says: "Is it? That's good!" The night will include stand-up; readings from Booky Wook 2, This Time It's Personal - the sequel to the first installment of his warts-andall autobiography; and a question and answer session with the audience.

"I have a very keen interest in what the women of Newcastle are saying."

So what's it like returning to stand-up after recently acquiring movie star status in the US where he's gone down a storm, with roles in films such as Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Get Him to the Greek and Despicable Me? "I like to have contact with the audience," says Brand. "It's exciting ... beautiful. I'm going to be romping around the country, kicking over bins and startling the foxes."

After his starkly honest My Booky Wook laid bare his sex, drugs and alcohol addictions in 2007, the latest covers the past few years, charting his rise from "crack-house junky to Hollywood star" and his quest for true love - with thousands of encounters with women en route.

It takes in the 'Sachsgate' drama too - he headed to America after resigning from his BBC Radio 2 show as the storm blew up over the prank call and he talks of his regret that Geordie Lesley Douglas, the "brilliant" Radio 2 controller, also resigned. And it brings his colourful life story up-to- date.

"It goes right up to now - it's going to end with this conversation," says the 35-year-old.

Where it actually ends - after the kind of high jinks that saw him win The Sun's "sha**er of the year" title three years running - is with singer Katy Perry whom he is, of course, about to marry. He describes the much-documented initial meeting when she threw a bottle at his head. …

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